Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Home Alone, Well Kinda

Jared is up at the church for the New Year's lock in. The boys and I have been on our own since 12 today. We ran a couple quick errands this afternoon otherwise we've been home.

Up until yesterday Graham had escaped the illnesses in our house. He ran out of luck Tuesday. He woke up with terrible loose stools and very groggy. He just laid around most of the day but by 4 he really perked up and I thought it was over.

I was wrong...He got up twice in the night and vomited. It was such a mess and he's such a sweet sickie. He's snugglie and typically in a good mood which makes it even more sad. Again he perked up and has been playing around and giggling most of the afternoon. I was thankful for the turnaround because we are supposed to spend the afternoon at Jared's parents tomorrow.

We had planned to go up to the church even if just for a bit to say hi and hang out. This evening about 7 Graham had an accident upstairs and had loose stool all over the hallway. Needless to say I've spent the last two hours shampooing carpets. It's hard to stop once you start. It had been quite a while since I did them and they needed it. He's resting peacefully and I'm praying that was the end. Poor little guy.

I've been working on garlic bread in the midst of all this for the family gathering. I have two batches down and I plan to do two more in the morning. If nothing else I'll send Jared and the older kids with the bread and wee one and I'll hang out here at home.

Happy New Year. Here's praying it's a poo and vomit free one at least for the most part :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What I Look Forward To:

Since tomorrow is the last day of December and the last day of 08' I thought I'd write a brief blog about what I'm looking forward to in 09'.

1) Anneliese's birth! Give me the baby!! It's exciting to say I'm due in March and it's already January. I'm no longer getting the, "Well, you have awhile" look. It's been replaced with, "Wow, when are you due?"

2) Getting back into shape! This is not a New Year's resolution. It's more of a postpartum necessity. I am looking forward to running again even though I'll be starting over. I'm hoping to get a jogging stroller and wee one and I will be hitting the road soon!

3) Jared and I will be married 13 years in June. Isn't that amazing! 13 years later and I love him more with each passing day. It's shocking to me that 13 years has passed so quickly. I just want to hold onto him for dear life.

4) Our new associate at WCCC. Who will God bring to complete our family and minister to our children? I can't wait to meet him/her/them.

5) Brennan Conner will go to camp for 3 days this summer. My baby, my sweet little boy is old enough to go to camp for 3 whole days. That's flat weird and a little sad and exciting all at the same time. 2nd generation of Mission Lake campers :)

6) Elijah starts kindergarten. I will have 3 of the 5 in school full time. I am eager to see him learn and explore. He is so different from each of the others. He is eager to learn and I can't wait to see how he does. Brennan in 3rd grade! Tanner in 2nd and Elijah in K5. WOW where'd my babies go?

There is so much good in our lives. I just can't wait to see what God has in store. Good or bad we will Glorify Him! Good bye 08' and 09'...bring it on!

Monday, December 29, 2008

28 Weeks 3 Days!


fetus 28 weeks "28 Weeks Gestation
  • Brain-wave patterns resemble those of a full term baby.
  • Another person can hear a heartbeat by listening to the pregnant woman�s abdomen.
  • There is a good chance of survival if birth occurs at this stage of development.
  • The weight is about 2 to 2 1/4 pounds.
  • The length is about 10 to 13 inches.

Babies born earlier than 37 weeks of pregnancy are called premature or preterm. Babies born between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy are called full term. Babies born close to full term have the best chance to survive and do well. The earlier a baby is born, the more likely he or she is to have serious health problems which may require extended hospital care or long term care outside the hospital. Advances in medicine and science will hopefully continue to improve the chances for survival for even the smallest babies."


Today was my doctor's appointment. Everything's going great. She's measuring right where she should be and her heart rate is strong. My blood pressure was 116/74. I was thankful for that since I've been having pulsing in my eyes. My vision pulses with my heart rate. I was a little concerned it may be blood pressure but the doctor reassured me it was just increased blood volume.

It was exciting to hear my Ob say, "Wow, we're almost done." I am eager to start the official 10 week count down so stay tuned for that :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Power of Prayer

Last night when I went to bed I prayed (ok begged) God for healing. Tanner was obviously a little better yesterday but he wasn't himself and still was acting very lethargic. I was still struggling and only had small bouts of energy that I used up quickly trying to retrieve my house from the layer of clutter it's found itself in.

I couldn't sleep last night at all. That may sound like a complaint but I knew I must be better because normally I can't sleep well. I'm just to that stage and during the worst part of my illness I would sleep 10-12 hours without stirring. I was actually thankful that I was restless last night. Ha!

The best part was getting up this morning to Tanner playing Wii. I looked into the living room to see his hooded sweatshirt and I said, "Tanner is that you?" To which he replied, "Hi Momma, I'm better!"

I immediately offered him his cup of sprite he nursed all day yesterday hoping he'd feel up to it when he said, "I already drank it this morning." He then asked for breakfast! He ate an entire bowl of cereal and asked for a glass of water.

Thank you Jesus! We had planned on staying home from church but I think we may just go to second service. We'll wait another week on Sunday school simply because it wouldn't surprise me if he tuckered out easily. I am so thankful to see my healthy little boy again. I was really concerned.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

On The Mend?

We're staying home from church yet again tomorrow. I still have strep and Tanner hasn't been upright all day.

The good news is he asked for toast and ate two whole slices. It may seem meager but it's all he's eaten in 4 days. He also sipped on fluids all day today and didn't vomit. WHOO HOO. I'm really hoping to see a glimpse of my Tan Man tomorrow verses the sickly little creature that's been laying around.

Grandma and Grandpa are coming to get Brennan and Elijah since they are past the ickies and desperate to get out of the house (aren't we all). I've never seen them more excited to go to church. They desperately miss their friends (ugh, me too).

I slept the bulk of the afternoon today with Tanner and Graham. I figure after sleeping 80% of yesterday, 11 hours last night and then my nap today I should be better tomorrow :)

Check Out Our Christmas Pics!

This was the first year that the boys received the bulk of their gifts from Jared and I . Typically the grandparents have spoiled them while Jared and I looked on.

I am so thankful for the way both sides of the family decided to do Christmas this year. We decided not to buy gifts for one another but just have fellowship and food. We haven't had Christmas with Jared's side yet but I have to say it was so nice to not be stressed about having a certain number of gifts for others when we really couldn't afford it. We were able to spend our Christmas budget on our own kids.

Jared and I were just as excited as the kids were to open presents because we carefully thought out each one and started collecting them months ago. Jared already had a small stock pile in his office before we even put up the tree. We had a stress free and really enjoyable Christmas. What an idea!

The boys each had a small number of gifts each and they were all really very affordable but because of the forethought we got them just what they'd wanted. They were SO thankful and appreciative. Jared and I were blessed by the gift of their thankfulness. They are such good boys.

My family went together and purchased the boys new bikes. All 4!! Thankfully the day after Christmas it was nearing 70 degrees so the kids could ride them. Only Brennan and Elijah felt well enough but the two of them were out most of the day enjoying their new gifts.

Check out our pics!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Just a Thought

The other night I mentioned to Jared how Anneliese's name is just really settling in for me. It takes a little while for me to feel as if any of the names we've picked flowed and were just right. When I think of her (which is pretty constant) I easily think of her name Anneliese Lily.

Jared just looks at me and says, "oh, I'm not there at all." Umm what?! If you have been reading my ramblings for long you will remember Hazel was my name of choice and went with Anneliese as a bit of a compromise. Apparently Anneliese isn't the issue, he's not too sure about Lily. He doesn't care for constant L's. Anneliese Lily Altic. He mentioned her misfortune if she married someone with the last name Leeland or any other L name.

So, her middle name is again up for consideration. I guess now's the time to get comfy with what she'll forever be known as. It's just a little comical to me that it took my saying I'm settled in it to find out he wasn't at all. For two people who talk so much you'd think we'd cover it by now.

Right now we like Anneliese Victoria and Anneliese Olivia. I tried to talk Jared into the name Avalon with the nickname Ava and he didn't care for Avalon at all. I like Anneliese Victoria Altic because her initials would be AVA and we could call her Ava if we wanted to, at least until she got married :) We (I) love nicknames. My only concern would be that I wouldn't want her going by Ava verses Anneliese. It could be a cutesy nick name like "Weeja" for Elijah.

I would love your ideas but please be nice and not critical of the names we've chosen. I'm a little raw right now with hormones and sickness :)

You've Got To Be Kidding!

This morning I got up early to go look for an amazing deal on a tv for our bedroom. I was up by 6 and headed out immediately. The problem is Wal-Mart was the only thing open and their prices weren't any different than they were a month ago. WHAT!?! I don't usually go out the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas but I always hear the amazing stories of crowds and sales. I didn't see either.

I waited until Target was open and they aren't having any sales until Sunday.

In the night last night I started having a pretty severe sore throat and decided to get out since it was just a sore throat. The longer I was out the worse it got and I started having stomach issues and feeling extremely nauseated.

I looked around about a hour and a half and decided I was far too ill and frustrated to stay out until Nebraska Furniture Mart opened at 9. Once home I got out a flashlight and checked out my swollen throat to find it covered in blisters. The whole left side of my kneck up to my ear is swollen and tender to the touch.

I'm not a doctor but I'm guessing strep since I've had it millions of times in my life. I called the OBGYN and they're out for a long holiday weekend. Tanner is still sick and vomitted again this morning (day 4). He spent all of yesterday sleeping on the couch. I've heard strep can present itself like the flu in little guys but didn't think they had it since neither of them had any kind of sore throat.

Ugh, we've passed 2 weeks now of illness and I don't think my body, boys, or emotional well being can handle anymore. Please Lord, heal our family.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas all!

As you enjoy your family and friends please keep in mind all of those who have lost loved ones in the last year (or two). The holidays can be exceptionally hard and they need to know that we remember their loss and that we care deeply for them.

Enjoy your family and fellowship!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In a Funk

It's not quite Christmas here in the Altic house. I've been singing, "I'm Dreaming of a Conventional Christmas" (to the tune of White Christmas) making up the words as I went along. It just doesn't seem right this year.

Tanner started vomiting this morning. He's had 3 incidents so far today and hasn't left Jared's chair otherwise. We are going on 2 weeks of illness and it's sucking the life out of me. We've missed church, Christmas programs, and church canceled caroling due to weather. I love worship always and especially at Christmas.

Jared is working today. We're hoping to see him by 6 or so for dinner. Due to my working Weight Watcher's he was forced to take Monday off to sit with the kids so we get him tomorrow and today seems like just any other day. I had plans to make cookies and candies with Natasha today while the boys played (Matt's on at the Fire Dept) and obviously we had to cancel due to Tanner's sick belly.

My house needs cleaned and my family is due to come tomorrow evening. I've been off myself and ended up resting most of the afternoon in my bed while the boys watched Toon Disney and Graham slept.

Dustin's family is out of town visiting Alanna's family in WI. so we won't even get together with the Altic's for a week.

The blinking Christmas light through all the darkness has been you. Jared and I have received an onslaught of Christmas cards from friends and church family. Jared has come home from the last few church events sharing with me your eagerness to tell him of your affection for our family and wishing the boys and I well. I so appreciate the blessings God has gifted us in each and every one of you.

Merry Unconventional Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Good Read From "Have Another Think"

Our friend Adam G. is someone we love and respect very much. He wrote a blog about "Happy Holidays" and I thought it was excellent and wanted to share it with my readership. Enjoy:


"Happy Holidays": A Sign of The Coming Anti-Christian Apocalypse?

"Some Christians believe that there has been a war on Christmas, some kind of systematic attack on the religious aspect of December 25 which seeks to accomplish several objectives:
  • Replace "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" at retail stores
  • Remove or ban nativity scenes on government property
  • Replace traditional, Christian Christmas carols with songs like "Jingle Bells"
  • Emphasize Santa and de-emphasize Jesus
While the above items have indeed happened in many places, does this constitute some kind of organized, premeditated attack on Jesus and his followers? Do we need to take Christmas back from the evil hands of the far left?

I don't know if it's an organized thing or not, probably not. Even if it were, why do Christians care so much about non-Christian people doing non-Christian things to a tradition about which they neither know much nor care much? I have some random thoughts to help us Christians put this whole "war on Christmas" thing in perspective:
  • This is primarily a North American thing; few people, including Christians, outside the US care about this at all.
  • The word "holiday" means "holy day." It's still religious!
  • Why should Christians get all the attention, anyway? Christmas, technically speaking, is only on December 25; therefore, if we insist that people say "Merry Christmas" at Wal-Mart, shouldn't they only have to do it on the day itself (and Wal-Mart is closed!)? We are being greedy to insist that people greet us the way we want them to on days that aren't even our holiday.
  • There are four major holidays in December, only one of which is Christian. Dec. 9th is Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday. December 21-29 is Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday. December 25th is, of course, Christmas. And December 26-January 1 is Kwanzaa, a non-religious African-American holiday. If we really are a nation whose core value is freedom (even freedom to practice any [or no] religion), shouldn't we say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" alone?
  • "Xmas" is not an attempt to avoid saying "Christmas." The X is the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter in the Greek form of "Christ." It's shorthand, not desecration.
  • Americans need to put their perceived persecution in perspective. Thousands of Indian Christians in Orissa will be celebrating Christmas hiding in forests and jungles because their homes and churches have been burned and destroyed by Hindu radicals. Many of them will celebrate Christmas mourning the loss of family or friends killed in these attacks. And we think that the cashier at Target saying "Happy Holidays" is worth even caring about? "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" (Hebrews 13:3).
  • Who cares if people in our society are trying to take Christ out of Christmas? It's not their job to teach the meaning of Christmas to your kids; it's your job, and it's the church's job.
  • The way to teach the meaning of Christmas it not to declare war on the war on Christmas. We must give a reason for the hope that we have, but we must do it "with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously about your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of your slander" (1 Peter 3:15-16). Has our behavior in reaction to this "war" been good?
Let Christians be the guardians of Christmas, especially the part about peace on earth."

Thank you Adam. I couldn't agree more.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve

The boys and I ran to Wal-Mart this morning for some baking goods. We have planned to make some goodies today and tomorrow. It was busy to say the least! Graham has taken to walking while we are in a store. I don't mind when it's not busy but today was a little much. I would have had to of leashed him to feel comfortable allowing him to walk in that chaos.

The problem is that Graham is 2 and once he's felt he's earned a freedom he doesn't take it lightly when that freedom is removed. He screeched for the first 10 minutes we were there threatening to jump from the cart at any minute.

My plan of sneaking in unbathed and unnoticed was thrwarted by his baying at the moon. I really try NOT to appear as an unkept worn out mother of 4 who doesn't understand birth control. Alas...

Add to that Tanner decided once we arrived that he really didn't feel well enough to be out and desperately wanted to go home. Needless to say I didn't get all the ingredients I went in for. I was hoping to make "Poor Man's Turtles" for my family and walked out without a single of the 3 ingredients.

We are so blessed that with 4 children there is always comic relief. Please only read on if you have a strong stomach. Elijah has had a ferocious sore on his left nostril for the last week. I have been trying to nurse it back to health by adding large amounts of triple antibiotic ointment but he just won't leave it alone. Once I had the kids loaded up and headed for home I looked in the rear veiw mirror to see his nose bleeding again.

"Elijah did you pick at your nose?! It's bleeding again!"

"It didn't tastes like blood, it tastes like snot."

I laughed (and gagged a little) until my stomach hurt. What a sweet innocent little boy. He's so precious I could kiss him...on his forehead.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Get Smart

Jared and I just enjoyed the Steve Carell's Get Smart. I have to say it was a cute movie and made us giggle on several occasions. There are a few words that I wouldn't want my kids to hear and there's one rear view of Steve's seat, but other than that it was clean and funny.

We are big fans of Steve Carell's and really enjoy Even Almighty as well as The Office.

I would definitely recommend it for adults/teens. Too funny!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The History of the Altic's Christmas in Piper 05'-08'




Back To Normal

I have plans this week to slowly regain my house. With Weight Watchers some house work has been put on the back burner. I mopped the kitchen this morning as well as the back hallway, laundry room, and bathrooms. I wiped down the walls in the hallway about 3 feet up. It was nasty. I dare you to look closely at your walls where short people touch. I wiped down the wall under the bar where the boys slop their food. That was bad :P

There is bedding to be laundered, Anneliese's room to organize, and my closet is a mess. There are so many things I want to accomplish and fatigue, business, and my goofy hip has kept me from it for 5 weeks now.

We have the week off of school so I am hoping to get lots done so when we start back up I can focus on school and not worry about it. I wouldn't say I'm nesting, it's more I'm just tired of the yuck :)

A Few Fun Pics

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. Yesterday I desperately tried to get a good picture of my boys near our tree as I do every year. The problem was Brennan wasn't feeling well and couldn't seem to open his eyes fully. Elijah has a massive wound on his left nostril due to the dry air and a nose picking 4 year old. Oh, and Graham is 2. So here's the best of several. They're still cute even if it's not the best pic :)



I am 28 weeks preggers this week which puts us wonderfully close to seeing our precious Anneliese. I'm doing my part by growing rapidly. Here is a pic of my round self (I guess I should have fixed my hair BEFORE Jared took the pic).



I wrote previously about how chilly it is in our house and my sweet brother Will bought us the cutest little heater ever. It sits next to the back door in the kitchen and warms us as it oscillates blowing wonderfully snuggly air. The dogs are even fond of the heater and will move with it in order to stay in the line of the heat. I have caught the boys taking turns sitting next to it while watching TV. Thank you Woo, we love you and you are so good to us!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Goodness Not Again

Today was a very full day from sun up until sun down. I got up bright and early and headed to Leavenworth for work. As soon as I was done I came home and prepared to head to Lawrence to drop the boys off at my mom's.

This afternoon my good friend Misty had a wedding shower and I was eager to see her and give her lots of hugs. She lives in Iowa and her wedding is scheduled for Feb 14 (I'll be 8 1/2 months by then) so I figured I better attend the shower since it's unlikely I'll be able to go to the wedding. It was a fun afternoon catching up with her and meeting her handsome fiance.

Early today Brennan was complaining of not feeling well and we just assumed he was tired. We were wrong. Mom said he didn't move off her love seat all day and on the way home he vomited in the van. Luckily I was prepared and he was able to aim into a Wal-Mart sack. Poor guy. He's not been right in a couple weeks now.

So, no church or Christmas program for us tomorrow. The younger boys are begging to still go to the program. I think I'll keep them home in the morning and see how they do in the afternoon. They are desperate to participate in the "act." The boys are learning a hard lesson this month. When one is sick we all miss out. It's a tough one, but worth it. I don't want to spread the pukes and it's so hard to tell who's contagious and who's not. After all we don't want you to endure this too!

What It Means to Be Called

I am enjoying a daily bible study of the Proverbs 31 woman thanks to my friend Alisa. It is "Revive Our Hearts." I have been really enjoying the daily reading and today's speaks of my calling. I really appreciate the writings and think all women of faith should read this and be self evaluating.

Enjoy, and prepare to be convicted.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finally!!

Tomorrow should mark the end of the Weight Watcher's a-thon. I was supposed to finish up last Saturday and my boss pleaded with me to stay one more week.

I've actually enjoyed getting to know all the members at the Leavenworth Center. I think we've had a lot of fun!

My family however is super excited to get back to some sort of normalcy. Jared hasn't been real keen on my running around constantly. It'll be nice to not worry about childcare and schedules but just go back to being mommy, teacher, and wife with a little Weight Watcher's on the side.

I was chatting with Jenny H. today and came to the realization that this week could unofficially start the 10 week count down to Anneliese. I'm 28 weeks. Technically there are 12 weeks left but in previous pregnancies my OB was willing to take them as soon as he felt they were ready due to their massive size ;)

Tanner was induced at 37 weeks and weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs 3 oz, and Eli was born naturally at 37 weeks and he weighed 8 lbs 13 oz, and even Graham at a premature 34 weeks was tipping the scale at nearly 7lbs. The pediatrician was sure he'd been 10lbs if he'd gone to term. It's thrilling to think how soon we'll get to see her precious face.

Well That's Just Swell

Apparently the time of year doesn't play as much a part as I thought.

When I was pregnant with Brennan I was due in September and we had record highs in Joplin. The entire last month it was in the lower 100's. I was swollen up like you wouldn't believe.

With my pregnancy with Elijah who was due in April I had swelling near the end because I was struggling with some mild preeclampsia. My blood pressure was a little high and the swelling was an issue. Even then it wasn't too bad.

I am 28 weeks this week and I'm already swelling significantly in my hands, ankles, and feet. I'd like to say that my newly acquired back fat was simply water weight but I know better. I have a doctor's appointment a week from Monday and I am eager to check in. This marks the last of my every 4 week appointments and after 29th I begin seeing him every two weeks.

Jared mentioned this morning that this pregnancy is flying by. I have to agree. I feel like it's flying by and taking forever all at the same time. Basically, I feel pregnant :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Day To Remember...

Today is the 7th year since the birth of our sweet Tanner Riley Altic. We have successfully showed him our love and affection.

With being second in birth order and a week before Christmas we are constantly worried that Tanner may just slip through the cracks. It seems in a family our size our children benefit from their parents both being middle children.

Jared and I both have a strong sense of fairness and equality that stems from being in the middle.

I heard a quote once that a parent said,"Being in the middle is the best. It's just like the icing in the middle of the Oreo."

I hope that Tanner felt that today and everyday. Each little boy is so unique and special. Each of them are absolutely irreplaceable and we are made better by knowing them and parenting them.

Thank you Lord for the blessings we call Brennan, Tanner, Elijah, Graham, and Anneliese. They are truly a gift from You.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just a Quick Poll

Do you have a television in your bedroom? Jared and I do not. I've always felt like a TV in each room is a little much and only encourages members of the family to spend time in different rooms alone verses all together in one main room.

We have our main TV and then our spare room has a TV in it supposedly for company. The kids use the TV upstairs pretty often. We use it more when we have company on Sunday nights for all the kids to watch a movie or for the boys when they want desperately to watch something for the 100th time. It doesn't have cable or any kind of antenna it's main purpose is to watch DVDs.

I have been thinking a lot about whether or not I want one in our bedroom. Neither of us watch TV to sleep at night. My reasoning is kinda silly actually. In the last two pregnancies I was put on partial bed rest at least for a little while and I guess I feel that is coming at some point. There isn't any reason for that worry but alas it's there. Graham came at 34 weeks and if there are any signs of preterm labor with Anneliese I'll be stuck in bed until she's ready.

We have a nice sized bedroom and we have two perfect corners for a wall mount and small TV. The other perk I see is that I'm NOT a fan of football and on Sunday afternoons I could watch something in my room while Jared dozes to hour upon hour of football.

Anyway, do you have one? Do you prefer it or do you wish it could be removed? Just curious!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside

Every year about now Jared and I begin to talk about how we could make the living room and kitchen warmer. Our furnace is below the laundry room so the back of the house stays nice and cozy while we freeze our extremities off in the living/kitchen.

We have taken some steps to help by purchasing the magnetic vent covers and placing them in the back of the house forcing the warm air out where it's needed. I don't really think it helped much.

We have a crawl space under the kitchen where the duct work runs to the living room and the crawl space is not insulated nor is the duct work. We both think it would help to insulate the duct work so the air doesn't completely cool while making its way to the living room. If you feel the air coming into the room it takes several seconds to get warm, stays warm for a few seconds only to cool off quickly as the cycle ends. This can't be very productive. Plus the floor to the kitchen is like ice where the crawl space is. I can't imagine walking through my kitchen without stocking feet.

We have also discussed purchasing a small room heater to just take the edge off and always intend to do so at the end of the season in order to save money and yet still haven't purchased one. I would really like one of those that looks like a mini fire place but they are definitely pricey.

There are 2 back doors to our house and both feel like an air conditioning vent mid winter. I keep towels at the base to keep out the draft but the door themselves need to be resealed or something because you can see daylight around one of them. I have tried quick fixes like the black rubbery strips but they end up peeling off mid season. I have also purchased the rubber and metal seals for the base and they lasted one winter and with the constant traffic letting the dogs in and out they didn't survive for this winter.

As soon as it gets warmer we seem to forget all about the issues of the frigid winter only to be snapped back into reality with the first drop in temperature.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Apparently I'm tired. I just can't get enough time in bed. I'm sleeping 9-10 hours at night and then still desperate for a nap come afternoon. Yesterday Jared was sweet and let me lay down for a quick 3 hour nap.

I was out! I dreamed all kinds of weird stuff and when I woke up to the boys banging around upstairs I was startled and forget who, what, when and where I was.

Now it's 9 am and I keep thinking surely I could lay down for a little bit longer. The problem is I HAVE to school the boys this week and I'm still working Weight Watchers so I'm not real sure how this fatigue is going to fit into my schedule ;)

On a different note my sweet Natasha cut my hair the other day. I haven't had it cut in 6 months or so. I've been trimming it myself and have really been unhappy with it for the last couple months. It just hangs there.

Never underestimate the benefit of a stylist. She just shaped it and evened out my uneven cuts and it's SOO much better. It has shape and seems to be purposeful. It only took a few minutes and I couldn't be happier. Thank you Tashy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Buzz

Jared, Brennan and I put in the electric fence this morning. It took several hours and it was really windy but man was it worth it.

We have had a mess surrounding the fence trying desperately to keep the dogs from digging out and they've actually learned to remove bricks and such from their favorite escape holes. That all ends today. **insert maniacal music here**

Please keep in mind that we put this fence in as an alternative to tying up our dogs. We want them to roam freely in our backyard getting exercise and playing together. The fence we bought is for small dogs and is set on the lowest setting so as not to hurt the dogs. Our intentions are to keep them safe from busy roads and from other dogs. They are now perfectly safe within our yard.

Since we installed the fence we removed all the logs, rocks, and bricks from the fence line. Within the first few moments of letting Sophie out she took a b-line to her favorite hole. She was more than a little stunned by the warning she received.

It is somewhat comical to see the difference between the two dogs. Maury was outside mere minutes before he seemed to understand and never let out a whimper he just adjusted his stride to stay within the boundaries. Sophie on the other hand continues to go to the fence line just to see what will happen. Each time she receives a warning tone and then a light buzz and each time she jumps straight into the air letting out a yelp.

Jared and I are both a little concerned that the correction may worsen her already insecure and timid self but hopefully she'll learn quickly and we'll have her for years to come verses losing her to Leavenworth Rd.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thank You Alisa You've Made My Tummy Happy

**This recipe was cut and Pasted from my good friend Alisa's blog The Sweet Life. I made this this evening because I've been craving it since she brought it to church two weeks ago. It's incredibly easy and can be made with lo-fat ingredients and you really can't tell a difference. It's stinking delish so ENJOY!!**

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
So So Yummy......Chocolate Eclair Cake
I thought I would share my Chocolate Eclair cake recipe, it's kind of a morph of a couple other recipes I've found. I haven't made it yet this (school) year for Wednesday nights at church, but normally it is devoured in mere moments. I really should just make 2 of them, but that wouldn't leave them wanting more, now would it?? Here's how it goes:

2 3.4 oz packages of vanilla instant pudding
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups cold milk
1 tub cool whip (I use Lite)
1 entire box of graham crackers
1 can whipped milk chocolate frosting

In a large bowl whisk the pudding mix and sugar together. Add the milk and whisk until smooth and creamy. Fold in the whipped topping, set aside.

In a 9 x 13" baking dish place one layer of graham crackers on the bottom. Top with 1/3 of the pudding mixture. Top with another layer of crackers, pudding, crackers and pudding.


Add one final layer of crackers to the top.


Open your frosting and completely remove the foil liner (don't want to start any fires :). Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and of pouring consistency.

Pour the melted frosting over the top of your final layer of crackers and spread smooth.

Refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably 24 hours. You do have to think ahead for this dessert, but it is soooo very worth it! Something wonderful happens to the graham crackers as they soak up the pudding mixture and the frosting...... oh the frosting. I do not care for canned frosting, but magic happens when it is melted and then put in the fridge. It's almost like a fudge or some other heavenly chocolate. Hope you like it!
Posted by Alisa at 7:28 PM
Labels: recipes

Cool Trick!

Now that our water softener is up and running I decided to see what I could about removing the hard water build up on our glasses. I love google. Anyway after doing some brief research I found out that if you soak glass in vinegar, water, and baking soda it removes the fogginess. As if that wasn't cool enough I then made the concoction in my sink and as soon as I added the glasses everything started bubbling like Sprite! It was apparently eating all the residue right off the glass! Since it was so cool I decided to take before and after pictures.

BEFORE:


AFTER (prepare to be amazed):


I was so pleased that I went ahead and soaked my blender jar, coffee pot and all our silverware. It all looks so much better! YAY!

You Know It's Bad When...

Today was supposed to be a day off from everything. No babysitting, no Weight Watchers just being home or out and about doing what we please. We decided early this morning to go to Natasha's to see her 10 Doberman puppies.

I was going to get my hair cut. I was going to color hers and the boys were going to play with tons and tons of puppies with bad breath.

Until, Tanner didn't get up until almost 11 this morning. So far he and Eli had escaped the flu/cold that we've had. I had all the boys bathed, dressed and ready to go when Tanner (holding his stomach) said he didn't feel well. I called Tash and she said come on over he's probably fine.

So our plan was to go ahead and just see how it went because all the kids were desperate to touch those puppies, especially Tanner. I knew he had to be feeling pretty rotten when he snuggled up in Jared's chair with his hoodie up and said, "Mommy maybe we should stay home."

**Update...I loaded up the kids to run to Wal-Mart real quick for water softener salt, sprite and crackers for Tanner. He said he was doing a bit better and wanted to go. As soon as we got to Wal-Mart he vomited all over the entrance to the eye glasses store. We finished up quickly and he had two more incidents before we got home. Poor baby :(**

Babies Babies Everywhere

It seems like Tis the Season for deliveries. We have friends and friends of friends delivering left and right. First we had baby Jules from the Hendrons, and then tiny baby Bryleigh came into the world yesterday. Her parents are good friends of the Dilley's.

Our friends Brooke, Beth, and Ana are all within days of delivering. Jared and I are both feeling the excitement and realization that we too will be having a new bundle soon.

This week marks the beginning of the 3rd trimester. Here we go!

**Update! Sean and Becca Cannon had their sweet baby girl yesterday (12/14/08)! Momma and baby are fine and we are desperate for pictures. Becca is our cousin in Colorado. Congrats guys!**

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Von Tone Deaf Singers!

This just almost made me cry and no it wasn't because of the singing. This rings SOO true to life. I couldn't help but share. Please pay special attention to the names at the end!

I'm BACK!

During my pregnancy coffee has been a big ICK. I'm normally quite the coffee lover and have even listed coffee as a favorite past time. For some reason for months it's just turned my stomach.

Until the other day. My mom bought me a coffee grinder last year and I haven't been able to use it yet simply because it didn't sound good. I went to Starbucks and bought fresh beans of the House Blend and a fat free cinnamon and vanilla cream liquid creamer.

Apparently that's all I needed to regain my love for Joe. I'm addicted all over again and am enjoying a large cup of warm goodness right now.

Who Knew?!

So last night I noticed my little Eli's face was seriously breaking out with eczema. His cheeks were vibrantly red and hot to the touch. Tanner's cheeks weren't much better and his thighs are inflamed.

When we got home from church I decided to do some investigating online to thoroughly check out our current softener. As I mentioned in a previous blog I was concerned whether or not just replacing the circuit board would be enough since it looks pretty rough.

After taking it apart and looking at several different parts I put it all back together and reset the screen. I opened the flow to the machine and viola. It works. No kidding. It immediately started "charging" and as of this afternoon it's still running and we are beginning to have soft water running through the tap.

I was thrilled! I don't know how long it will run since that circuit board looks like a rust bucket but for now it's running and that answers my question of if anything else needs replacing. So now I'll wait for the board to finally die and then replace it! We should be good to go. Meanwhile I'm super thankful to postpone the financial aspect of fixing/replacing it at least for now.

God is good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

99!!!!

I like to watch the days tick by until our due date and tomorrow marks 99 days until D-Day. It's amazing how fast it's gone when you consider the fact that the day I added our ticker there was 249 days left (280 in an average pregnancy). Yay!

Awesome Randomness

-Apparently I'm a little rough on blow dryers. When Jared and I first started Dave Ramsey I bought a really nice dryer for $60 at Sally's. I thought that was rather pricey and the most I'd ever spent on a blow dryer. The only reason I justified it was because I burn out Wal-Mart dryers about every 6 months. The new pricey dryer lasted about 8 mos and caught on fire. I returned it to Sally's where they replaced it with the same thing. A couple days ago (about 8 mos later) it started sparking green while I was drying my hair. I know I have a lot of hair but on days that I stay home I let it air dry so the only days it gets a work out are on days I actually need to go somewhere. Surely it should last longer than 8 mos!

-Elijah told me the other day, "hey mom you know when it's time for bed and you say, "Boys, upstars!" When Anneliese (anna-weese) gets here you'll have to say, "Boys and...girl go upstairs!"
Too cute.

-I'm 26 weeks. So, that leaves about 12-14 weeks left. That doesn't sound too awful long! I sent Alisa Y. my list of addresses for the shower she's throwing for our little girl. Oh my goodness I can't wait. I'm going next week to Target to register. This is SOO much fun.

-Anneliese will be riding in style. Jared and I have a stroller that my Dad bought us when we were pregnant with Brennan. It's 9 years old and has been through 6 kids. My 4, a nephew, and a friend's little boy. Because of it's age it needs to be replaced due to safety reasons even though it's still in good shape. I have to say that we got his money's worth out of it. He and Suz (my step mom) said it was the Cadilac of strollers and they were right!
I have been on the look out for something newer (and something that isn't blue plaid) for our little girl and I found it yesterday!! Peg-Perego is a rediculously expensive brand of strollers. I found one on Craigslist that is $400 at Toys R us and I purchased it for less than 1/4 of that. It's black and silver with animal print on it. TOO CUTE. It has to be the nicest stroller I've ever seen. The best part is the handles are adjustable so Jared doesn't have to bend in half to push it.

-"What will you call her?" That is the number one question we get when we tell people Anneliese's name. Our intentions are to call her Anneliese. Why is that soo difficult? We have some friends who have a daughter named Angeliese and she's at least 6 or 7 now and guess what they call her, Angeliese. Amy C. has a daughter named Abigail and even though Abby is a very common nickname no one calls her that since they introduce her as Abigail. Plus there's no telling what the boys will come up with. Elijah is Weeja since that's all Graham can muster and we all think it's adorable. Sis or Sissy are also fine with me, otherwise she'll be Anneliese, sweet girl, sugar bugar, baby girl, or anthing else we come up with.

-We're on the mend. Brennan and Graham have been ill for nearly a week. I came down with a vicious head cold on Monday and I'm surviving. I figure it's been a really long time since we've all been sick so we were due and all in all it wasn't as bad as my poor friend Shell. Her whole family has had the pukes twice over in two weeks. I'm praying for you sweet girl.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

All Quiet on the Altic Front

It's 2:30 pm and the dogs are kenneled, the boys are all in bed, the house is...quiet. I have a core friendly pumpkin pie in the oven and when it's done I am also going to retire to my snuggly bed.

God is Good.

A Day Off!

I was supposed to head in again tonight for another Weight Watchers meeting but in the night last night I started running fever. I was up off and on either blowing my nose or chewing on tums due to the horrific indigestion that has begun to plague me whenever I am not bolt upright.

I called my boss and she gave me the night off and is having a co-worker who's a trained receptionist do the meeting tonight. I'm sure it will go fine but it's hard for me to relinquish control.

It's funny because I was desperate for a day off but this wasn't what I had in mind. I also found out that I will have to continue the meetings I've been working through next week at least. They just don't have anyone else to do it. I was supposed to be done the 13th but now it will be the 20th. I offered to continue the Saturday morning simply because it's super early and doesn't affect the family at all. It is the Tues. and Thurs. that have been making things difficult with the kids.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Whole New Meaning

**Let the buyer beware**

Apparently there are some new creeps abusing Craigslist. This is a little disheartening since most of what we own comes from the wonderful online classified. In fact just this week I bought Brennan and Tanner a large box full of embroidered hoodies all really nice brand names and in great shape.

Over the last couple weeks Craigslist has made the news. There are predators listing great deals and then when the potential buyer shows up they get mugged. NICE! Can anyone get a good deal anymore whithout being concerned for their personal welfare?

Take precautions! Make sure you don't go alone and if at all possible meet in a public place. We picked up our sweatshirts at Cabella's. The lady was nice enough to bring them in and allow me to pick through the box in Cabella's entrance. We got a great deal and the boys and I were perfectly safe.

I still recommend using the sight just be careful and try not to roam on the main page. There is a lot of questionable content on there. I wouldn't allow teens to shop alone for fear of all the other junk on craigslist.

God Bless!

Ugh!

I'm sick! I caught my babies nastiness. I'm not real sure what in the world I'm to do about work, but I feel like a truck ran over me and then backed up.

I stayed home from church this morning with the kids since Brennan's still not quite right and Graham has a pretty nasty bark and is super cranky. I kept them all home just in case one of them may be contagious. Turns out it was a good thing I did. I'm in pjs and a snuggly robe and am desperately waiting for daddy to get home so I can go back to bed.

Are We There Yet?

Yesterday was a very full 12 hours. I left the house at 8 am and didn't get back home until after 8 last night. Brennan has been really sick for the last 24 hours and I don't like being away when my kids aren't feeling well. This has got to be the worst bug our household has seen in a year.

This next week was supposed to be my last week of Weight Watchers back to back but I got an email from my co-worker yesterday saying she's hoping to be ready to come back by Christmas or just after. Jared and I talked about it and I just can't keep up this pace for another 2-3 weeks or more. I'm going to have to call my boss tomorrow and ask for some help. I'm worn out. I miss my kids and my clean house. I've been struggling with quite a bit of back pain and leg pain and I really think it's because I'm always on my feet and not wearing comfortable shoes. I'm surprised how quickly I'm entering the, "are we there yet" phase of this pregnancy. I dream about her, I think about her constantly, I'm desperate to meet my baby girl.

Caroling went well. We were at the craft fair for a little over 4 hours and sang and sang. It's always a little funny the first time we start because everyone looks at us like we're nuts. Once they realize we're supposed to be there and we don't need to be committed they seem to really enjoy us.

Last night was the second annual Woman of Wyandotte. Anita puts it together and it's a night of fun and fellowship for the woman of the church and their sisters, mothers, friends. There seemed to be a really good turn out. Anita asked me to sing last night and after a really long day (month) and coming down with a cold I debated for two days whether or not to cancel. I haven't sang a solo since this time last year and I was petrified on top of everything else. Needless to say it didn't go well. I lost my place in the words and the beginning was rough due to a tired scratchy throat. Why oh why didn't I go with my instincts and just say, "no thank you, maybe next year." Apparently I can't say no to anything.

One thing I did learn however through all that is I've changed a lot over the years. I used to look for a reason to sing solos and sang often in our previous church (once a month at least) and did some when we first came here. I was convicted over time by the song Jesus Lover of My Soul:

Verse:
Jesus,Lover of my soul All consuming fire is in Your gaze Jesus, I want You to know I will follow You all my days, No one else in history is like You and history itself belongs to You, Alpha and Omega, You have loved me and I will share eternity with You

Chorus:
It's all about You, Jesus and all this is for You, for Your glory and Your fame, It's not about me, As if You should do things my way, You alone are God and I surrender To Your ways

Verse:
Jesus,Lover of my soul All consuming fire is in Your gaze Jesus, I want You to know I will follow You all my days, No one else in history is like You and history itself belongs to You, Alpha and Omega, You have loved me and I will share eternity with You

Chorus:
It's all about You, Jesus and all this is for You, for Your glory and Your fame, It's not about me, As if You should do things my way, You alone are God and I surrender To Your ways

As much as I enjoy singing and really feel it is a tool for worship I really don't feel the need or desire to jump up in front of a group of people and sing a rendition of Amazing Grace. It's all about You Jesus and all this is for You, for YOUR glory and YOUR fame.

Friday, December 5, 2008

200th Post!

-I've not written in a couple days because this is the 200th post and I felt like it needed to be something spiffy. Well, I don't have anything too spiffy going on right now so, YAY 200th post! Whoo hoo! How's that?

-I am finishing up week 3 of my 4 week Weight Watcher's-a-thon. WHOO HOO! It's been a busy month and I'm thankful it's coming to an end. A week from tomorrow marks the end I think. As long as my co-worker is ready to come back I'll get to go back to somewhat normal.

-Apparently I've "popped." In the last couple days anyone who sees me comments, "WOW you're really showing!!" I'm closing in on 7 months so I'm okay with "looking" pregnant. I get a daily email from What to Expect When Your Expecting and yesterday's article was entitled, "You're not fat, you're growing a baby, say it with me!" I thought that was hilarious and SO true! This is the stage when my size starts to surprise me daily in the shower when I start to shave and think, "Who's humongous thigh is that?"

-Jared and I have purchased the electric fence and are waiting impatiently for the couple of things we ordered online to aid in the installment. Sophie keeps escaping and being a beagle she LOVES to be outside. Since she's obnoxious I love for her to be outside. We've had to keep her in or take her out on a leash in order to keep her from playing dodge car on Leavenworth Road. The boys are wearing out on standing in the blustering cold waiting for the rat to go to the bathroom. This is going to be such a blessing!

-The boys finish up lesson 100 today! Since there's only 170 lessons in the year we are closing in on the end! I met a really nice woman at work who has home schooled her kids for the last 15 years. She said she kept a 3 weeks on 1 week off schedule with 2 weeks at Christmas and 4 weeks in the summer off. I have been concerned about this summer and keeping the boys fresh since I started them so early. I don't really want them to have 6 months off school before they start the next grade. It will help not schooling them when Anneliese is new but we're going to have to figure something out and this schedule has peeked my interest. It's easy for the boys and I to wear down at different points in the year and I wonder if the 3 weeks on 1 week off would grant some much needed relief and help us stay encouraged through out the year. Well see.

-Graham woke up from his nap yesterday crying and running a fever. After giving him some medication he perked up and seems to be better this morning. We all are starting to have a scratchy throat. It couldn't be worse timing since I'm supposed to carol for 4 hours tomorrow and then sing a solo at the women's group tomorrow night. I figure by tomorrow evening I'll be lucky to have a voice. Well the bible does say, "make a joyful NOISE unto the Lord." I should be able to muster a noise of some sort.

-Tanner Riley turns 7 in 13 days! That is hard to believe. He is such a unique little boy with so much character. I took them shopping the other day for new jeans and he was very interested in picking out his own items. Brennan couldn't care less. Tanner picked a brown and khaki pair of plaid pants, and a navy and green argyle shirt with a large gold embroidered emblem on the chest. He also picked out a pair of workout pants that were black with a teal stripe up the leg. He like those because the black was sparkly. He's decided to grow out his hair to an unkept shag. Apparently he's going to be a young man who is up to date on the latest trend, a little GQ perhaps? I love that he is unique and obviously doesn't feel second to his older brother.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Taken From My Cousin's Blog

Jared and I have felt this passionately over the years and am thankful to see we are not alone. How about this for Christmas this year

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Whew What a Morning

I loaded up the kids this morning and headed out for a multi-stop shopping trip. We were paid yesterday and had several things to pick up so we headed down to Shawnee Mission Parkway.

It's a beautiful day so walking to multiple stores was very pleasant. Our first stop was Motherhood Maternity for a couple necessities. I'm am very thankful to have not one but two undergarments that fit perfectly and are actually quite comfortable. The best part was they were 50% off and I couldn't be happier or umm more supported :)

The next stop was to Old Navy for some pants for my eldest two sons. They both wear the same size and we barely have enough jeans for one boy let alone two. I figure the two pairs of jeans we have won't last long between two crazy rambunctious boys. Old Navy was also having a great sale and we were able to get 4 pairs of pants for the boys, 2 shirts and an adorable shirt and matching skirt for Anneliese all for around $60! I was thrilled to be able to buy my little men some NEW clothes. It may sound silly but we are typically garage sale-ers and goodwill only. I couldn't pass up brand new jeans for $8-$10 a pair knowing they would be passed down several times.

Next was PetSmart. Jared and I found an electric fence on Craigslist and needed a few supplies to help with installation and an extra collar for dog #2. We are very excited at the idea of keeping our dogs contained. Something Jared mentioned that I hadn't even thought of was how nice it will be this summer. We'll be able to leave the gates open while doing yard work without worrying about their escaping. Plus we needed a few hamster supplies. After seeing the movie BOLT the kids were desperate for a hamster ball :)

We headed to Aldi for our bi-weekly food haul. I was just $27 short of my record spending at Aldi. We are so thankful for this store. Doing the bulk of our shopping there saves us at LEAST $150 a month. We are able to feed our family well at a fraction of the cost of other grocery stores. It's a little work bagging my own stuff but it's definitely worth the savings.

Last and least :) was Wal-Mart. I was out of my crazy pills as well as my thyroid medication. Even though we were all exhausted I decided it was a necessary trip or Momma would be fat, hairy and very unhappy with a hint of anxiety. You know what they say, "When Mamma's crazy fat and unhappy everyone is..." Well, you get the idea.

I am so thankful to be home for a couple hours of rest and home schooling before heading off to work yet again. We are in week 3 of the 4 weeks of Weight Watchers so it's almost done.

This may seem like a complain-y blog of all the errands that needed to be run but it's really a list of wonderful thankfulness. Jared and I have been so blessed by our church and their generosity. I wouldn't have been able to go and buy our families necessities without all your help. It was a great feeling to walk into Old Navy and shop the sales and get exactly what we needed without worrying if the electric bill would have to wait. God is Good.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Anneliese 25 weeks



I had a doctor's appointment this morning full of lab work exams and a sonogram. I arrived at 8:30 and didn't leave until almost 11. It was a long but wonderful morning.

The sonogram was just magic. Anneliese was awake and moving. She kept opening her mouth and sticking out her tongue. It was precious. Towards the end of the sono she started sucking her thumb and the tech immediately took the picture above. What a precious image.

She's growing perfectly and everything looks healthy. She's a whopping 1 lb 6 oz. She's measuring just a little big for her age but then again we kinda expect that. I have one more appointment in a month and then we go to every 2 week appointments. Dr. Sheridan said she's head down and will probably stay there. I didn't gain this month which was both shocking and wonderful. I tried to behave and apparently didn't do too much damage during the 3 Thanksgiving meals.

She's been using my right rib cage for a trampoline so I assumed she was in the "ready" position. It's shocking and wonderful how quickly this pregnancy is going. I can't stop smiling. For some reason today I got a huge dose of a wonderful reality. We are going to have a daughter...soon.

Praise God. He is good.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Random

-We finished up our Turkey Day gluttony today. We've had 3 turkey day celebrations between church, my family, and Jared's family. I don't feel like I over did much at all but at this stage I feel bloated and full on lettuce :)

-I am really proud of the Weight Watchers members that came to the meeting this morning. It's hard to weigh in just days after an eating holiday and not only did they show up, the majority lost. I was super impressed. Good job ladies. You inspire me.

-Graham has become more and more outgoing with each day. He was quite the ham at Grandma's today. He's got quite a sense of humor for 2.

-Anneliese is kicking super strong and can be felt outside my belly. So far Elijah and Jared have both felt her knocking. Elijah was so excited he squealed, "I felt her twice and it felt like I got bonked with a trampoline." I'm not sure what that means but he was thrilled.

-I cut Brennan's hair yesterday. I was working diligently and really felt like I gave him the best hair cut so far. I was just straitening up the sides and the guard broke. It went flying and I scalped my son. He now has a 2 inch bald spot on the back right of his head. I cried. Poor little guy. He's particular and I'm sure doesn't appreciate Jared's constant teasing about how when he grows up he'll be able to afford real hair cuts.

-Saturday looks to be a crazy day. I have a Weight Watchers meeting first thing in the morning and then Dustin and I were hired to carol at a craft show for a few hours in the mid morning and early afternoon. Saturday evening is the annual "Woman of Wyandotte" at the church and Anita asked me to sing. Whew. Momma's going to be ready for bed.

-While weighing a member this morning I was told, "wow you just keep growing." Yep and since I'm just 25 weeks it's looking like it's not going to stop anytime soon.

-This evening a friend of the family said,"I guess I won't see you until after the baby comes." I replied, "Surely I'll see you before then." She looked me up and down and said, "When are you due." Ugh, "Not til March."

-I'm nervous (I don't know if you've noticed but I'm REALLY not a fan of change)but starting to get excited about who in the world God is going to bring to Wyandotte. Jarod and Laura are moving and we are looking to hire a youth minister. We have about 250 people that attend our church and about 95 are under 18. Being a mom of 5 I am super eager to see what the future holds for our kids and this ministry. Please be in prayer for all of us as we begin this transition.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tradition

It has become a family tradition to put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving evening. Last night after my family left we spent a couple hours moving furniture around and putting up the tree.

We moved our couch to a location it's never seen. The idea being it will save the carpet that connects to the kitchen and gives us a change of scenery. We were hoping to have the carpets cleaned but due to the previous post it's been permanently postponed. I'm not sure if we'll leave it this way but I think I like it.

The day after Christmas last year I picked up some adorable lights at Lowes. They were little glass snowmen and had been $24 a package. I bought the last two boxes for $2.50 each. They are SO cute. Check out our tree!

Well That Right There's Your Problem

When we bought our house and renovated it we put in all new appliances minus the fridge. After we'd been here 6 months or less I had the dishwasher repair man out because all our dishes looked hazy. He explained that our water was extremely hard and our dishwasher wouldn't work right until we put in a water softener.

We put in a water softener to the tune of $500 to help our appliances but more because 2 of our boys have eczema and the water was irritating their skin. The softener worked great for about 3 years and then started having issues. We had a repair man out and he charged us $140 to tell me that it needed a part that would cost $150. I decided to put it off since it wasn't a necessity and it's been about a year since it was in working order.

Our dishwasher has been moaning at us during the wash cycles and after running it several times in two days over the holiday everything looked like it had been dipped in milk. Today I squatted down and looked into the basin to see what looked like food stuck around the big ol' circle thingy (that's Mom terms, not technical in any way).

Assuming taking it apart couldn't possibly hurt anything I got the tool box and started unscrewing screws. Luckily it all comes apart rather easily and this is what I found:



Apparently our water is harder than I thought. It took me about a hour, some Lime Away, and a steak knife to pry all the calcification off the big ol' round thingy and any part connected to it. Keep in mind that this build up had to have happened over the last year since we had a water softener in place the rest of the time we've lived here.

I have several concerns...

1) We HAVE to have a water softener or all our appliances including my new washer and dryer are going to have a very short life. Hence costing hundreds to replace.

2)My current water softener looks like a rust bucket due to being in a damp basement. Will repairing the $150 circuit board be all it needs or just the beginning. It only cost $500 to start with. It could get too pricey to fix fast.

3)The dry winter is hard on our skin and the boys should start showing signs soon and what about Anneliese. Will our brand new baby's skin be okay in our water? She's the first baby since the softener broke.

4)How much is this going to cost? The timing is lousy with the holidays and car tags due in Feb. Ugh.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Whatcha Doin?

Tomorrow morning Jared and I are taking the kids to the 10:10 showing of Bolt. We would love to have any friends and family join us. We'll be at the Legends 14 rain or shine. If you're good we may even let you sit near us.

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good...oh sorry wrong holiday.

Just a quick reminder to be full of grace, quick to listen, slow to speak and enjoy the people God gave you as family. Remember His wisdom and He placed you together for a purpose.

Take today and make it a day of reconciliation and love. Oh, and there's usually some good food too. Beware! The average weight gain just for Thanksgiving is 7 lbs. WOWZA. Take it easy and fill your day with friends and family and allow the food to be an extra not the main event.

God Bless you and your families.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Anneliese Week 24

Usually when I do the bi-weekly updates on Anneliese I just google how ever many weeks gestation and click on images. The bulk of the pictures I've used so far have been from a website in Texas that's based on a woman's right to know.

Today I googled like normal and the first image that was on the list was that of an aborted 22 week baby girl. I am not encouraging anyone to look at the following link unless you are prepared for a very gruesome sight. This is what a precious baby of just 22 weeks looks like outside of the womb after a mother decided she did not want her baby.

It is images like this that make me question our nation as a whole. How, How can anyone claim Pro Choice when you look at that infant girl. Where is her choice, her rights. I am so incredibly grateful for this gift of life we have been blessed with. I pray that each woman regardless of the circumstance can find the silver lining in their own situation and realize that two wrongs do not create a right let alone justice. This little girl felt pain, heard her mothers voice and had a 70-80% survival rate had she been born at the same gestational age. How can we refuse that this is a life.

Wowza

8,000 hits. Thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We Gotta Love Them

We gotta love our dogs but do our neighbors?

Tonight I got home from work/family outing to find my dogs desperately screeching more than normal. I tried to call them in and they didn't come they only barked, cried, and screeched some more but never came in.

I turned on the light out back to see them chained up. I'm assuming our neighbors brought them home and chained them up with their own equipment to keep us from losing our beloved yet obnoxious animals.

I am so frustrated with the two of them digging out. One neighbor to the West of us has two puggles that roam free and our little pooches can't handle the temptation. Whenever those puggles are out Sophie and Maury lose it.

We currently have a small forest of logs lining our beautiful privacy fence as a barrier but that apparently isn't working.

My next step is to purchase the underground electrical fence and collars. I plan to place the fence a foot inside our privacy fence so if the dogs even think of getting near it they'll get a nice little zap encouraging them to leave the stinking fence alone.

We love our dogs and the benefit to the kids is priceless but the upkeep is pricey :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just For The Record

Jared told me this evening that his reasoning for not being able to keep up on my blog is that I don't write daily. Apparently the key to keeping readers is constant blogging 5-6 days a week.

So in order to keep my husband as a reader I thought I better write something to keep your interest. I have been super busy with work and was gone all day today and will work again tomorrow.

I really hope to write more as soon as life slows enough for me to catch my breath. I do have one thing I would like to mention.

My mother in law came over to watch my kids today while I was working. I was extremely thrilled to come home to a house I did not recognize. Unfortunately with all the time wrapped up in Weight Watchers my house has become last priority. I am some what particular about keeping house but I just can't do everything. I am SO thankful for her hard work. While watching 4 precious boys she managed to find my kitchen and my laundry room while I was away.

THANK YOU!!! I am so appreciative.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just How Full?

It has been brought to my attention that the image of a quiver at the top of my blog actually has 6 arrows lying next to it (thanks Alanna).

I would just like to clarify. If I were younger and healthier and if we were independently wealthy Jared and I would have 6 kids or more if the Lord decided to bless us. The truth is that pregnancy is hard on our family as a whole. Momma's tired, emotional and desperate for the baby.

Jared came home last night and was telling me that for the first time he is actually concerned about the economy. He's worried that we may over the next year suffer from a depression. There have been a lot of "the sky is falling" theories over the years (remember Y2K?) but there are actual rational reasons for concern.

So, are we done with 5. It sure seems like it. We feel strongly about being responsible and recognizing just how many children we can reasonably afford to raise. We are currently talking about preparing for the upcoming year and stocking up on things just in case. It can't be bad to have food on hand regardless of the economy when your family consists of 7 people.

We strongly believe children are a blessing and the more we look at the 4 we have the stronger we feel about adding to our family. I am so thankful that God put it on our hearts to have just one more. We made a difficult decision but feel like the Lord has blessed us in trusting Him. As far as we know our family is complete.

As a side I have to say that when we decided on the name Anneliese several of our friends and family showed great relief that we did not go with Hazel. In response to that my conservative husband said, "It's not like we decided all of a sudden we hated the name. If God decided to bless us with another daughter she would more than likely be Hazel."

Guess What I Found!

Okay remember the previous post about the amazing crib at Nebraska Furniture Mart? Jared and I have been blessed with a gift and he told me to go see if it was still there. It was gone of course. It had originally been $890 and was marked down to $220. I didn't figure it would last very long.

Since Jared gave the go ahead to find a girlie crib I started checking out craigslist. The thing I really liked about the crib at the mart is that it was a transition crib that grows with the child. We currently just have bunk beds for the boys and even though it's several years away I liked the idea of making one purchase and having her crib as well as her big girl bed.

So this afternoon I am going to pick up this:



The second picture is what it looks like as a day bed/toddler bed. If you look at the other image it shows the 3 stages of the bed. It's very similar to the crib at the mart but instead of $220 it's only $100. I am very excited. Now I'm on the hunt for an old buffet to paint to match.

A buffet you ask! Why yes, I thought it would not only be unique but would have lots of storage and double as a changing table with a nice wide top at the perfect height. I'm thinking something like this if I can find one for a reasonable price:



There actually was one on craigslist for $25!!! No kidding but I didn't get there in time. It had already sold. So if you know of one that's just collecting dust somewhere let me know.

I can't wait to share final pics of our little lady's bedroom. I think it will be quite frugal yet gorgeous.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lookie

Today our Anneliese ticker on the side bar has changed. We completed a full 23 weeks today and she's growing!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Giving Thanks

I know Turkey day is a week from today but I'm already really feeling the love. Last night our church had our annual Thanksgiving meal and it was very well attended and had tons of yummy food. As a bonus they had a Pastor Appreciation presentation. Jared works very hard, long hours, and we have dedicated our lives and hearts to this church and it is extremely moving to see that our family here loves us too. We are forever grateful for the generosity but more importantly the love that it represents.

I have been thinking about writing a blog of things I love. These are people/things I love not in any particular order.

My God, My Father, My Savior
Jared Richard
Brennan, Tanner, Elijah, Graham, Anneliese
Our Church family
Our extended families on both sides
Our home (that was largely a gift from most of the listed above)
The Church's eldership
All our friends new and old
My expanding middle and the precious child that resides within
Our furbabies
dependable vehicles
A stable income that completely supplies the needs and most of the wants for our family.
Home Schooling (not a type-o) I feel blessed watching my children grow and develop knowing I play a huge part in that.
Our children (have I mentioned them yet?)
My marriage of almost 13 years
Oh, and the kids :)

I have a list as long as my arm of goofy little things that the Lord has blessed us with that mean the world to me. Like appliances for example ;) The song "Count Your Blessings" just dances through my mind as I think of all the amazing people and things that are constantly adorning our lives.

I love you all. Thank you for who you are and all you do.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home Made Bread

Home made bread is a staple in our house and in our church. Jared and I love rolls and my kids think they're candy. While getting ready for the meal this evening at church I decided to make some bread to make stuffing and then I was asked to make rolls. I ran to the store yesterday morning to pick up enough supplies for two days of bread making.

I typically buy most of everything at Aldi. I decided to buy my flour at Wal-Mart in order to get bread flour. Since this was for the church and not our own personal meal I made the bread with real butter and bread flour. WOW what a difference. They are delectable. They are just as yummy as usual but the texture is lighter and the flavor richer. I thought I would share the rediculously easy recipe so that you too could enjoy a little home made roll heaven.

This recipe is for a bread machine so put the ingredients in the order that they are listed:

1 cup warm water
1 egg
2 TBS butter
3 1/4 cup Gold Medal Bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp active dry yeast

Set your machine to the dough cycle. I have two machines and one takes 1 hour and 20 minutes while the other takes 1 hour 30 minutes. Once your dough is done remove it from the machine and divide it into 16-18 equel parts. Allow to rise 45 minutes covered with a light weight towel. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden. I like to then take a fresh stick of butter and glaze the tops while they're nice and hot. They also make amazing garlic sticks. Make the recipe as stated just roll them out into long sticks and allow to rise. When they are fresh out of the oven apply butter and immediately top with garlic salt.

If you want to try some amazing stuffing use the same recipe in a large bread machine (2lb machine) and allow the dough to cook through a regular bread cycle. Once you have your fresh bread tear it up and allow to dry over night. Use it in place of bread crumbs from the store in your favorite recipe and you will NOT be disappointed. 2 loaves will stuff a large bird as well as fill a 9X13 pan to almost over flowing. It feeds my extended family of 12 big eaters with left overs each year.

For you Weight Watchers ladies out there these rolls are only 2 pts a piece when you make 18 out of a batch. They are fantastic. Just be careful once you master it. They will become all you'll ever be asked to bring to a family/church gathering for the rest of your life :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's Up

-I currently have 1 of 2 loaves of homemade bread baking for my scrumptious stuffing. Tomorrow night is our Thanksgiving meal at church and I'm bringing tons of stuffing and homemade rolls. Can you say YUM?

-After just being more aware of my eating and doing a better job handling stress my weight is down 7lbs since Thursday. EEk. I would just like to say that I am not dieting I'm just making better choices and apparently I was working pretty hard at maintaining the weight I was at. While my goal at this point is not weight loss, I would like to maintain where I am for a month or two to just balance out the onslaught of weight gained in the first 6 months. I was already dealing with significant swelling in my hands and feet and that has now corrected itself. YAY. Being healthy both physically and emotionally is definitely better.

-Yesterday was some what exhausting and my goofy hip issue has flared up pretty significantly today. I have been fortunate so far this pregnancy with just small bouts of pain. I'm hoping that this month of working on my feet doesn't bring it back in full force. I would greatly appreciate your prayers on this one.

-Turkey day is next week!! That's shocking!

-I purchased new blades for my hair clippers today and some quality hair cutting scissors. The boys all have fresh new dos and Jared's next. It's amazing how much easier it is to cut hair with quality tools. Such handsome little boys. Just for your information: If Tanner seems a little shaggy over the upcoming months please be patient with us. Tanner has decided that he would like his hair a bit longer. After talking it over with Dad we decided that he has the freedom to choose as long as it's not in his eyes or passed his collar. Think Jim Halpert at 7 years old. This is what he's aiming for (minus the open shirt):
We'll see how it goes. It's fun for us to see our boys individuality really starting to come out. If he wants somewhat shaggy hair we'll try it out. Think of it this way, you won't struggle with which is which anymore when it comes to Brennan and Tanner.

-I'm off to work again this evening. Jared's been going in so much earlier in order to get a full day in. It's important to make sure his job always take priority.

Monday, November 17, 2008

So It Begins

The month of Weight Watchers begins today. It's already not as bad as I'd thought. My sweet friend Tashy has offered to watch the kids today so that Jared can put in a full day. He was up and at em' at 8 am.

Because of her generosity we will have a day later in the week (Friday hopefully) that Jared can take off and have a day home with the family. Today is my big day with 3 meetings back to back. I start at 130 and won't be home until around 8.

The other meetings I'll do this week have much less time involved because they are single meetings and those tend to go pretty quick.

As far as homeschooling goes I remembered that we have the week of Thanksgiving off so 1 of the 4 weeks we won't have school. That will definitely help.

A positive to all this is that it has made me more conscience of my own eating. There has been a lot of stress as of late and I'm eating my way through it. When I went into the doctor for my toe the doctor mentioned that I had gained 10lbs in 2 weeks. YIKES. She asked sweetly if there had been any new stress in my life and I just broke down. I felt foolish because as a Weight Watchers leader it is my job to train people to work through stress and other emotions without turning to food. I have been falling back into my old ways of eating and all the emotions are intensified due to my pregnancy.

I have been doing soo much better since that appointment. When the emotions come I just cry verses stuffing my face. May seem silly but at least I'm working through the emotion verses feeding it and leaving it for later. I greatly look forward to Glory when all my faults and strongholds will be removed and I will be made whole.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nice and Fresh, Not Spoiled at All

Jared and I were having an in depth conversation about parenting. I feel very strongly that my job as a mother is to prepare my children to leave me. From birth on I am to give them all the skills they need to live an independent life with their new family. The whole leave and cleave idea.

I told Jared that if he were to ever see me behaving in a way that would some how jeopardize that goal to please bring it to my attention. He then smiled and said, "how old was Graham before he slept through the night?'

He was about 6 months old before we had a full nights sleep on a regular basis. Jared then started to tell me how much I babied him since I thought he was the last one. He said the older boys were crying it out at 3 months (and slept through the night by 8 weeks) and with Graham I would say, "but he's a baby..." and grab him up.

It was really funny because as he was talking I was thinking, but he was just a baby :(

Jared (and others) is a little concerned it will only be worse with Anneliese since I am sure she's the 5th and final and that she's, well a she. I can't imagine such a thing. Okay, that's a total lie. I'm a little concerned myself.

I don't want a little brat no one wants to be around because I can't tell her no. I already feel so smitten by her. With every little bump and thump I ooze love and affection. I have been having a ball just thinking about her room, clothes and such. I can't wait until she has enough hair for a french braid. I bought a small chandelier for her bedroom and I was browsing pink mosquito netting to drape her crib.

My mom and I were in Nebraska Furniture Mart yesterday and I found a GORGEOUS crib and a matching dresser in the clearance and I was just desperate to get them for her. We've always bought all our stuff second hand through garage sales and such and for some reason I just really want something pretty and new for her. It's so silly. My rational side kicks in and I recognize that a newborn isn't really concerned with a bedroom suit that matches. Plus paying for her birth is far more important than new furniture.

With each of the kids I've gotten really excited and either purchased or made their bedding sets and wanted new things for each of them. I guess it's not totally abnormal but I just want to make sure that I keep things in check. I love her but I don't want to spoil her.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Deep Breath, in out, in out, in out

I wrote in an earlier blog about my working for Weight Watchers over the next month. I have been feeling somewhat overwhelmed but at the same time encouraged to know that I was helping someone and knowing it was the right thing.

This morning I received an email from a contact at the meeting I had tried to start up at the State Pen. Two weeks ago I went up for the informational meeting and only 6 of 27 showed up. The rules on "at work" meetings are that they have to have at least 15 paid in order to secure the meeting. Obviously with 6 I wasn't able to do the meeting and I thought it was a bust.

When agreeing to take on my ill co-worker's meetings it was under the assumption that this meeting was not going to take place. In the email this morning she was letting me know that she indeed had the 15 needed to start the meeting and it will resume on Monday.

EEK. One more meeting may not seem like a lot but think of it more as the brick on the pile that caused the pile to topple. Jared encouraged me this morning that we can do anything for a month. Even 7 meetings in a week for 4 weeks. I know that I am capable enough to do the meetings. That's not my concern.

My concern is that my family comes first and this will be a busy month with little time with them and no time with Jared. Anytime we would have had together he'll be watching the kids while I'm gone. (Brennan and Tanner are screaming at each other while I type. Maybe this will be a good thing :))

Jared keeps reminding me of how spoiled we are. I agree that we have more time together as a family than most. With his job he has the flexibility to be with us for all the important things and often on our days off together he's able to be here for nothing but a day of rest. I know we will make it through and be better off for it. It's just intimidating to think of it.

I keep focusing on the fact that we have hoped to purchase a new computer this next year for the kids schooling. Our current computer is over 5 years old and was the most basic model available when we purchased it. Working this month will give us 75% of the funds we need to do just that.

Romans 8:28
28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who[b] have been called according to his purpose.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Anneliese Week 22

22 Weeks Gestation
Rapid brain growth continues.
The eyebrows and eyelashes are well formed.
The eyes are fully functional and capable of movement.
The vocal cords are active.
Reflexes are present.
There is little chance for survival outside the uterus.
The weight is about one pound.
The length is about 7 to 8 inches.


My belly is growing rapidly. I'm already outgrowing maternity clothing and I know with the holidays just around the corner my "growth" won't slow down too much. It's really comical to compare bellies. There is another gal in our church expecting next month and I'm already protruding significantly farther than she is. I'm hoping that I'll still be mobile by 9 months :)